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Qualitative Research Assistant



The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University is leading a year-long, in-depth qualitative study to assess the experiences of low-income families with New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance program. This program gives New Jersey workers paid time off to bond with a new child or take care of a close family member with a serious illness. The Qualitative Research Assistant will primarily assist with participant recruitment and screening for focus groups under the supervision of the Project Coordinator and Director of Family Economic Security. This involves phone screening of participants using an instrument approved by the university’s Institutional Review Board, organizing and inputting relevant data into Excel spreadsheets, and possibly engaging in on-site recruitment of participants in New Jersey. The Research Assistant will also assist with on-site logistical coordination of the focus groups and may observe some groups. There may be additional opportunities to assist with qualitative analysis of focus group transcripts. The Research Assistant will be required to undergo Human Subjects training before working directly with study participants.

Additional duties:

  • Recruit participants into the study using approved methodologies
  • Assist with enrolling study participants, including explaining research procedures and obtaining informed consent
  • Schedule focus group sessions for study participants; conduct reminder phone calls and/or send mailings
  • Register participants at focus group sessions and manage paperwork

This research assistantship offers a unique opportunity to observe and gain valuable experience from a large-scale qualitative study, from start to finish. The ideal candidate should have a desire to work directly with study participants and an interest in social welfare and paid leave policies.

The Research Assistant will be based at NCCP’s offices in New York City and will travel regularly to New Jersey. A minimum commitment of four months is required. 12-16 hours/week compensated at $15/hour.


Preferred qualifications:

  • Knowledge of qualitative methods and paid family leave policies
  • Fluent or near-fluent Spanish skills
  • An understanding of the ethical and technical aspects of conducting research
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Comfort and cultural sensitivity with populations that possess a range of social, racial, and economic backgrounds
  • Organized, on-time, responsible, outgoing, and personable

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Suma Setty at by April 30, 2015.